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Ed Hugus RIP

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#1 cabianca

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 17:28

American Ed Hugus died on 29 June 2006, one day before his 83rd birthday. Born 30 June 1923, Hugus grew up on farms in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He was a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division in WWII and saw service in the Pacific, including a drop on Corregidor. He also was part of the American occupation of Japan.

After the war, he got caught up in the sports car movement, eventually becoming a dealer for Jaguar, VW, Porsche and Mercedes. He was also one of Carroll Shelby's first Cobra dealers, having cars sent to him without engines and fitting the Fords at his shop in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He sold his Pittsburgh interests in 1968 and moved to Florida where he was the BMW distributor for the Southeastern states. After retiring, he moved to Pebble Beach California in 1992.

He raced from 1952 and excelled at the classic long distance events like Le Mans and Sebring. In 9 Le Mans appearances, he had five top ten finishes including a first in class with Carel de Beaufort in a Porsche RSK. He was also adept at American club racing, taking the SCCA G Production National Championship battle to the last race of the season with his Alfa Guiletta in 1957. He was finally beaten -- his points total over the season was 5000, while the champion's was 5400.

Ed claimed to have driven for a short time in the 1965 Le Mans winning 250 LM. As someone who knew Ed, I found him to be a modest man and not one to exaggerate his achievements. On the other hand, as an historian, I've never found a race report, picture or eyewitness who could confirm the story, and believe me, I've tried.

Some support his story by saying he couldn't get to the prize-giving stand before the ceremony was over. That theory I can disprove. Pictures show Ed riding on the left rear fender of the winning car as it was driven down the lane next to the course to the prizegiving. Other pictures show Ed standing directly in front of the stand while the winners were on it, yet Gregory or Rindt never pulled him up. That could be accounted for by the fact he was not registered as a relief driver for that car and disqualification could have resulted. Nonetheless, at a time when the American motoring press was very sensitive to the progress of American drivers, I can't believe that no one picked up on the story. Some motor racing mysteries remain unsolved, and this may be one of them.


#2 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 17:51

Nice story , thanks Cabianca

#3 Ralliart

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 06:05

I'm sorry to hear of his passing. A fascinating life, it sounds like he enjoyed. Speaking of fascination, the story of his driving at Le Mans '65 certainly is. Did the author of the story of Masten Gregory uncover anything? I can't understand why any team would take the risk of disqualification. I wonder if Hugus drove at night, wearing Rindt's helmet. Does Hugus' helmet appear in any of the photos of him after the race? Was Hugus at Le Mans in the first place to drive for another team (perhaps as an under-the-radar driver)? Someone should do a story on this because no one gets hurt. If true, it doesn't diminish the efforts of Gregory or Rindt, the results won't be altered and, heh, they got away with it.

#4 Billy Sollocks

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 07:57

I am certain that he is on the podium with Jochen and Masten in films I have seen, certain he stands to the left of the trio holding flowers.

#5 Billy Sollocks

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 08:01

Here is a link to another thread on this subject http://forums.atlasf...highlight=hugus

#6 Billy Sollocks

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 08:19


in this clip from youtube.com there is a film of the 1965 podium celebrations of Le Mans, it is the third shot in the film clip after one with Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt, and there indeed is Ed Hugus in blue overalls with his flowers standing camera left of Masten Gregory, Jochen Rindt and somebody else who I totally have no idea who he is, probably the stowaway or something!! :drunk:

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 10:17

Originally posted by Billy Sollocks
.....and somebody else who I totally have no idea who he is, probably the stowaway or something!! :drunk:

Or the mystery fourth driver?

#8 cabianca

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 04:22

Belive the people on the podium in the clip with Rindt and Gregory are Index winners Herbert Linge and Peter Nocker.

#9 Billy Sollocks

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 05:28

...sorry Cabianca, thought I had found the answers for you, never mind, keep trying mate.

I love the story about the reason why he wasn't credited... that bit about if the relief driver is used then the driver who was relieved can no longer drive the car in the race. Cos of course Masten did drive the car again. They would have been disqualified!

Amazing Le Mans history.

#10 Hubert Baradat

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 17:29

I'm certain I had in hand for the 1965 race an entry list (from a newspaper) with Gregory-Hugus as drivers on the 250LM Nart entered. I was surprised to discover during the race the speaker said : "Gregory-Rindt".

I post here a kind letter Ed Hugus sent me last year explaining what happened on his point of view. Anyway, a nice story.

Posted Image

Note the charming French "Say la vie", trying to say "C'est la vie" !

EDIT : I forgot the text type writed :

" Dear Hubert 24 may 05
Thank you for your kind letter of may 19. It was very kind of you to remember me. Some writers have been telling me, that I have driven more times at Le Mans than any other american. I do not know this to be a fact.
Re-1965- As you know I had my own entry for the 24 hrs for many years. This year I was to drive a Ferrari of Luigi Chinetti in the race. How ever, the factory did not finish the car in time, so Luigi put me on as reserve driver on the 250 LM.
During the night about 4 AM ? Masten had gone out in the LM. A lot of the famous Le Mans pea soup fog moved and Masten with his bad eye sight and very thick glasses came : could not see well. Rindt had disapeared, no one knew where, so Luigi told me to get my helmet on and go so, I finished the last hour or so of Masten part.
Luigi told me many times later that he had informed the pit official about this. How ever, as Luigi said, may be they were too busy with a wine bottle behind the pits to do so. He was disapointed and so was I.
Say la vie.
Again thank you. Hope this helps. Ed Hugus "

#11 ggnagy

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 18:02

Originally posted by Hubert Baradat

Note the charming French "Say la vie", trying to say "C'est la vie" !

Spelled out just as it sounds in true Pittsburgheese. :clap:

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 20:01

That letter is simply a great historical post, Hubert, thanks for that...

And might I ask, where but on TNF would this subject get such coverage and include so many contributors (over the years) who knew the participants and spoke to them about it?

#13 Barry Boor

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:39

Completely O.T, but how does one actually pronounce the surname HUGUS.

I have mulled this one over for years: is it HUG-US, HYOU-GUS, HUW-JUS, or even a variation of the more common HUGHES?

#14 Hubert Baradat

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 07:28

According to most of my American friends "a variation of the more common HUGHES " seems to be good. But Edgar did not tell us ...

#15 David McKinney

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 11:16

I've never thought it would be anything but Hew-gus
But taht's just supposition

#16 Frank S

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 18:06

I didn't hear him say his name.
I heard his (Californian) friend, Art Evans, call him YOUgus.
Don't know how that would come across in Pittsburghese.

#17 docjanos

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 19:08

Some clarifications. Hugus was most definitely registered as a reserve driver on the NART car (have seen the "demande d'application" with his name on it, and Ed showed me a photo of him in the car during practice.

The official rules of the day were that a reserve could be subsituted for a starter, but then the original driver could not return. Thus, including him would not be a problem, but then returning Gregory to the wheel would have been.

I was probably one of the first to hear the story and the first to try to carry it the nth as far as corroborating the story. I could never come to any firm conclusions one way or the other and choose simply to believe him. As you point out, if you knew him, he was never prone to exxagerate and I don't think that this was such a big deal.

As to those who insist that the ACO always strictly applied the rules--you ain't been to Le Mans, kid. I have seen with my own eyes numerous transgressions of one sort or another (especially by French teams)--but others as well. This includes recent years--how about Mercedes' very blatant swap of an unauthorized T-car for one of the cars crashed in practice ? Peugeot did the same in the early 90s, etc. etc. I know of at least one case of a driver impersonating another. Illegal rebuilds of cars--the list goes on.

The early hours at a 24 hour race are particularly prone to such. Once I got into a conversation with a pit steward at Daytona during the wee hours, after which he realized that he missed recording the stops of several of his cars.

As to journalists who "were there" and claimed not to see anything--today the press room is directly over the pits--back then it was across the circuit. There are precious few journos present at 4 am, and those that have claimed to not see Hugus are the very ones famed for long dinners, a hearty party, and a long nap, before returning to their post.

One historian even dug through the lap charts, showing that the times remained consistent, trying to refute a fresh driver. The obvious counter-argument is that the time were consistent because there was a fresh driver. So it goes.

The problem is, there are precious few left who were there. I've been trying to get in contact with Nina Rindt, who may be the most reliable and non-biased source left. Will keep you posted.

Whatever the truth, Ed, you had a great life.


#18 Hubert Baradat

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 20:14

Thank you Janos.

One must know, pits were just empty in those years at 4 am ... and nobody (journalists, officials) could see anything. That's my point of view, especially if Chinetti's tale of the bottle of wine is true. But French people are not used to drink wine at this hour of the night.
Just Cognac. ;)

In any case, I don't imagine ACO could admit after the race one of the officials missing his duty and mocking the rules ... on the winning car ! Due to the 24 hours fame, impossible to declare.

Ed Hugus at Le Mans :

1956 8th Cooper T 39 # 33 Bentley, Hugus
1957 8th Porsche 550 A # 35 Godin de Beaufort, Hugus (1st in class)
1958 7th Ferrari 250 TR # 22 Erikson, Hugus
1959 DNF Porsche 718 RSK # 37 Erikson, Hugus
1960 7th Ferrari 250 GT # 19 Hugus, Pabst
1961 DNF Osca S 1000 # 43 Cunningham, Hugus
1962 9th Ferrari 250 GT Exp. # 21 Reed, Hugus
1963 DNF AC Cobra # 4 Hugus, Jopp
1964 DNF Ferrari 250 GTO 64 # 26 Hugus, Rosinski
1965 1st Ferrari 250 LM #21 Hugus, Gregory, Rindt

1958 - In the early morning in the S du Tertre-Rouge.

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 15:29

Regulation at Le Mans was clear in 1965 : 2 drivers only + 1 in reserve
That means that if one is sick and not able to continue the race, the Reserve one take the wheel, but the sick one cannot take the wheel again !

What did Chinetti was, i think a kind of trick and if he told ACO, ACO got in trouble. So i think that ACO said "dont tell the story to anyone" and even now nobody want to tell the truth.

RIP Ed Hugus on victory lane !


#20 Dave Ware

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 15:50

R.I.P indeed.

Imagine that he's up there sharing a car with Masten and Jochen again, and sharing the podium this time.


#21 Rosemayer

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 17:51

Here is a short link


Cheery Rosey